A Chat with Jo Binding from the Cardiff OxJam Takeover (09.11.2013)

oxjamA couple of days before the Cardiff Oxjam Music Festival 2013, volunteer co-ordinator Jo Binding took some time out to answer a few questions asked by The Other Side Reviews’ Nicole Mendes.  This is what she had to say:

TOS: What’s the tale behind the Oxjam Takeover?  We know it’s a benefit concert, but what’s the full story?

JB: Oxjam is Oxfam’s music festival that runs all through October with hundreds of events around the UK, all organised by volunteers who know and love their local music scene, and all raising money to save lives around the world.  We are being a bit different this year and are holding our even in November as it has been a jam-packed October of musical treats with both Swansea and Womex.

Oxjam was established in 2006 and Cardiff has been involved since the start.  We’ve organised all sorts of gigs and fundraising events, including Battle of the Bands competitions, buskathons and comedy nights.

This year the Takeover even is returning to Womanby Street (and other splendid venues) for its fifth year with 100 acts, over 10 stages from 1pm ’til late.

TOS: How much are you hoping to raise this year and what are you hoping to achieve with the festival?

JB: We are hoping to raise between £3,000-£4,000 this year, so please help us achieve that and attend this varied spectacle of an event.  You can get your tickets in advance for £7.50 online from WeGotTickets.com or you can buy your wristband from The Full Moon on the day for £10.

TOS: A lot of people putting this together are volunteers and work in different fields.  Was it difficult coming together and working with so many personalities?

JB: For me, personally, I actually joined later than the other team members this year, so it was very much a case of catching up with all that was happening!  We do all work in different types of jobs/hours so getting together is not easy.  There is a lot of Facebook-ness and emails flying around with our Jody (Tozer) who is overseeing the whole event, making sure that everyone knows which is going on and is on track.

TOS: What was the most difficult aspect of putting together the Takeover?

JB: The biggest difficulty would have to be the initial setup on the day.  Being a Sunday we only get access to the venues two hours before doors and have a lot of sound tech to set up, as well as banners to put about.  We have a hell of a lot of bands arriving at the same time, so vans are aplenty on Womanby Street.  It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m sure we can cope.

TOS: What was the most enjoyable aspect of putting together the Takeover?

JB: For me, I would say being a part of a festival where you known all the acts and people involved are willing to give up their time for free to raise money for a good cause.  Also the opportunity to showcase the best live acts that Cardiff has to offer.

TOS: Have you prepared for any mishaps that may occur?  And what is the greatest disaster you are hoping will not happen?

JB: We are as prepared as we can be!  There will always be some minor issues to deal with on the day, but there is plenty of experience within the team to deal with these things.  I don’t imagine any major disasters happening – whatever we are faced with, we will work together to make sure everyone has an enjoyable day!

TOS: Do you think the Cardiff Takeover will be different to other locations; and if so, how so?

JB: I think each location in the UK has a different idea of what a Takeover event is all about, and this is the beauty of this festival – there is room to expand, bring in new ideas and change any aspect of the even itself.

In Cardiff, I think we are lucky that we have somewhere like Womanby Street which has a number of venues located within such easy walking distance.  It is just ideal to put on an even like this and will be buzzing with activity.  Also bringing in other entertainment, such as the Comedy Stage and Mini Film Festival just adds to the atmosphere of the event.

TOS: Is there any particular act you are looking forward to?

JB: Too many to choose!  Love Afro Cluster!  They always get me in a party mood.  Also looking forward to seeing Maddie Jones, Climbing Trees, Johnny Cage & The Hopeless Sinners…and also catching some of the comedy acts, if I can.

TOS: If you could have any band or artist perform at this Takeover, and it doesn’t matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ they are, who would it be and why?

JB: Again, too many; but if I had to pick one, it would be The Correspondents.  They bring so much enthusiasm and would get the place jumping!

TOS: If you could make one change to the festival, what would it be and why?

JB: I don’t think I would change it.  As I’ve said before, there is always room to add new ideas, more venues, different types of entertainment, etc.  The changes in the Cardiff team each year sees people bringing their own experiences and ideas which can only make each even that little bit more special!
Thank you to Jo for chatting to us and best of luck with the Takeover! To purchase your ticket just follow the link or head down to Womanby Street in Cardiff City Centre on Sunday, 10 November.

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